So summer is here and everyone is making their summer reading lists, so I thought I should make mine. The way I chose these books is based entirely on impact and relevance that they still hold today. It’s the fact that how much these books have influenced the way our society functions that people should educate themselves on these ideas, even if they don’t necessarily agree with them. But that’s the beautiful thing about education: you don’t have to agree with everything. Educating yourself on opposing views in no way makes you dumber. I also did not make this list numbering the books in importance, I just couldn’t bring myself to it.
- The Bible: It’s hard to start with how much this book has impacted human history and even our contemporary world. Even if you don’t agree with religion or christian ideals, this book is crucial just in putting history into perspective.
- The Quran: Again with impacting the religious world. Islam is the world’s second largest religion with approximately 1.6 billion followers. To begin to approach issues throughout history and those playing on the evening news, an understanding of the Quran is important in understanding those issues.
- Origin of Species: Charles Darwin’s book published that proposed the evolution of species is still controversial today. And though, published as a piece of science, this book has historical relevance as well. Many policies during America’s Gilded Age were dubbed as “Social Darwinism” and continue to impact religion, politics, and science today and far into the future.
- The Communist Manifesto: Yes communism, that dirty word that nobody is allowed to utter. Marx has a lot of important things to say in this declaration, even if you don’t believe in communism. There is so much misinformation and propaganda surrounding the cold war, the first step is understand what countries such as the Soviet Union actually believe.
- The Wealth of Nations: Adam Smith’s seminal book exploring topics such as capitalism and free markets. Smith’s examination of economics is key to understanding schools of thought endorsing free markets, such as the majority of libertarianism.
I tried to create this list with a balance of opposing views, for instance putting both The Communist Manifesto and Wealth of Nations, two very different books. I’m considering writing a light reading list later on. I understand not everyone wants to sit around all day reading Origin of Species so I might make a list for more enjoyable books soon.